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Hawthorn & Child

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  880 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
The two protagonists of the title are mid-ranking policemen operating amongst London's criminal classes, but each is plagued by dreams of elsewhere and, in the case of Hawthorn, a nightlife of visceral intensity that sits at odds with his carefully-composed placid family mask but has the habit of spilling over into his working life as a policeman. Ridgway has much to say, ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Granta
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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. StedmanBring Up the Bodies by Hilary MantelThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceThe Chemistry of Tears by Peter CareyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2012
29th out of 151 books — 271 voters
Remembrance of Things I Forgot by Bob   SmithWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette WintersonAre You My Mother? by Alison BechdelThe Empty Family by Colm TóibínMary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin
The Green Carnation Prize
9th out of 74 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,126)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Much like this review, this book starts out with a boner. Tone? Set? Sort of. I don't want to give the impression that this book is juvenile in nature, but it's important for you to know that it's not, not, not a straight police procedural. It's one of them there genre-benders, which uses the premise of a modern London team of homicide coppers investigating things to revel in a number of stylistically variant vignettes. Yes, there is a shooting. Yes, the shooting is investigated. However, stuff ...more
Dec 20, 2015 Antonomasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: John Self's Asylum blog
Much-fêted in the UK literary blogosphere; less well-rated on Goodreads. The latter seemingly because some readers of crime fiction object to the loose ends.
Having found it easy to read, clever and fun, I'm siding with the bloggers. I picked up H&C because I couldn't read Tolstoy after a poor night's sleep; wondering what to choose, I'd been prompted by this blogger who's also tackling a tsundoku problem, with more single-minded resolve than I am - I had two of the same titles from that lis
David Hebblethwaite
Oct 12, 2012 David Hebblethwaite rated it it was amazing
Hawthorn & Child is just the sort of book I had in mind when I wrote this blog post about coming to appreciate different literary aesthetics; its incoherence would have left me cold a few years ago, but now I can see more clearly what the book is doing. The title characters are police detectives, and therefore characters whom we would generally expect to bring coherence to the world – but Ridgway creates a study of lives refusing to cohere.

Structurally, the novel is fragmented: a series of s
Aug 30, 2014 Blair rated it really liked it
For a book I'd wanted to read for so long - and really enjoyed - I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to think of anything to say about Hawthorn & Child. Part of the problem is that it's so difficult to describe: each chapter is totally different to the last, but they aren't really short stories either, more like interconnected vignettes. The characters of the title - two London policemen - appear or are referenced in every chapter, but they are rarely central to what happens and they remai ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Tuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
incredible noir capturing modern day crime and detection and the "why bother, it;s all going to shit anyway?" situations many find themselves in, during these times. a new directions book, perhaps a first for them? a detective novel. like these great reads An Occasional Dream and The Black Minutes and Beautiful, Naked & Dead and bolano books

i forgot to add, no crimes are solved
Jude Broad
Apr 07, 2013 Jude Broad rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but by half way through I had lost patience, and just wanted to get to the end. By two thirds of the way through I didn't care if I finished it at all. Perhaps I am not clever enough to appreciate the nuances and style of writing. I like a book to be challenging, but I don't like to be left feeling unfulfilled and bewildered.
Jul 04, 2013 Dianah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, arc, quotes
Hawthorn and Child are London detectives diligently investigating crimes, yet they are a distinctly odd pair. The entire book has an overwhelming feeling of strangeness; even the secondary characters are peculiar and eccentric.

Ridgway pushes a lot of boundaries, but he does it exceedingly well. Reading this, I had the feeling of being dropped into an already existing scenario -- nothing is explained, only experienced. While unsettling, the format lends itself to the unfolding of surprise after
Jun 23, 2013 jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
keith ridgway's hawthorn & child is a curious, strange, often delightful work that cannot really be described as a novel in any traditional sense of the word. more a collection of stories or vignettes connected by the two titular characters, the irish author's ambitious work is humorous, imaginative, and, at times, surprisingly moving. focusing on the professional and personal lives of a pair of english police detectives (also of different races and sexual orientations), hawthorn & child ...more
Adrian White
Dec 23, 2012 Adrian White rated it it was amazing
Some books you wish you'd written yourself and this is one of them. When an author so easily articulates what has been spinning around in your mind for so long, in the form of a novel that is so uniquely his own - well then, you can only sit back and be grateful.

There are many things to admire in this novel but I'm going to include here two quotes that get right to the heart of what I wish I could achieve as a writer:

'I am not a stakeholder. I hold no stake. I pay my taxes. My taxes buy weapons
Joanne Sheppard
Aug 25, 2012 Joanne Sheppard rated it it was amazing
I started reading Keith Ridgway's Hawthorn and Child on the recommendation of John Self, who was at the time embarking on an experiment to see how effectively a book could be drawn to people's attention through social media. John's enthusiastic championing of the book meant my expectations were high; equally, he'd been very clear about the type of book Hawthorn and Child is, so I knew roughly what to expect: an unconventional narrative structure, a lack, by most definitions, of discernible plot, ...more
Sue Batcheler
Feb 07, 2013 Sue Batcheler rated it it was ok
I can't decide if this is a work of genius or a case of the Emperors new clothes. It's deliberately fragmentary and there were fragments that really hooked me. But there were too many other fragments that left me cold and in the end I didn't care whether I finished it or not.
Aug 16, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
WOW, I thought this book was incredible. Definitely the best book I've read so far this year. I couldn't put it down. Bolaño would LOVE this book. The titular Hawthron & Child are a pair of detectives who wander in and out of this fragmented novel (or is it a short story collection?) like Rosencratz and Guildenstern, or like they're waiting for Godot. The plot of the story is that there is no plot. Mysteries are unsolvable, life is nonsensical, things don't add up, there is no answer or expl ...more
Mar 29, 2013 Raz rated it liked it
Shelves: odd, crime
This book is so hard to describe and very hard to rate. Bits of it were fantastic, and it could easily have been a refreshing and brilliant way of writing a book.

I wasn't warned/told about the concept before I read - that each chapter is a small portion of a story, left unfinished, with some overlapping characters - which actually made it far less enjoyable. I was waiting for some sort of major plot wrap-up the whole way through, and was always expecting a new chapter to revisit an old story.

Marc Nash
Nov 27, 2012 Marc Nash rated it really liked it
There's a lot of buzz about this book currently so I thought I'd check it out. The Titular Hawthorn and Child are two CID Detectives who have links to every one of the somewhat disparate chapters. Chapter 1 starts off with a non-lethal shooting they investigate, but none of the succeeding chapters returns to this particular crime. The way they fade in and out of the stories reminded me partly of Norwegian Noir writer Karin Fossum's detective pair Sejer and Skarre who are at times almost ethereal ...more
May 30, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
This is a difficult book to review. It's written in fragments - each chapter is a piece of a story, some more connected than others with several recurring characters - in particular the police team of Hawthorn and Child. Many of the storylines are not resolved so be prepared to walk away with more questions than answers. If you like your novels tied up with a bow, this book is not for you. While I found this style frustrating at times, the writing kept me engaged. Some fragments (I can't even ca ...more
Jan 15, 2013 beentsy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-done
I loved this book. Once I finished it I wanted to just start from the beginning and read it all over again.

This is not a standard cop whodunit book though. If you are looking for a mystery where at the end of the day everything is all tied up and solved, this is not the book for you. This is more like tiny little capsules of peoples lives and actions strung together, sometimes with the barest of threads. When I finished the last page I had more questions than when I started the book, but in thi
May 06, 2014 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm. What the #*$@ did I just read?
I like the way Ridgeway writes, I was gripped by the monologues the characters spouted in each chapter, hoping there would be a dawning moment when they all connected, even if my grip on that connection might not be too coherent.
But no. There are no connections. Either that or I just didn't see them. Which is a shame because, I liked this book, but it baffled the pants off me. Can I explain? Can I review it? Can I recommend it? The answer to these and many ot
Wonderful, eccentric, experimental, violent, authentic, moving, rich characterization, disturbing, anecd..., no, fragmented... respectful of the reader...from murder to Rothko..., from orgies to doubt.
Feb 23, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
fucking brilliant, just don't expect closure/crimes being solved even though it's a kind of detective novel. 'Kind of' in that it features the two eponymous detectives, and that crimes are committed. Some very brutal, some bizarre. Motives are not explored. Sexual fantasies and dreams are given as much reality as 'reality'. The writing is incredibly detailed and strong, with a beautiful control that the characters certainly don't have. It's more like a book of stories than a novel, in that the n ...more
Jun 02, 2016 Resimli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 / 5.0
Jaguar kitap tarafından yayınlanmış sıradışı edebiyat örneklerinden biri daha...
Basit bir dedektiflik öyküsü gibi başlayan, ancak bu tarzın kalıplarının çok dışına çıkan bir roman(?)... Birbiriyle ilişkili (ya da ortak karakterler içeren) öykülerle devam eden bir olay örgüsü içinde, ilginç kişilikler, olaylar dizisi ... Kesinlikle kendine özgü bir tadı olan bir kitap...


Bütün gün hikâyeler okuyorum. Bütün hafta. Okuyorum. Dinliyorum. Hikâyeler, konular ve kurgular dinliyo
Apr 07, 2013 Clbplym rated it did not like it
This was not the book for me. I thought it was going to be a detective novel but it's not. I have no idea what it was. Or really what happened. It's probably a clever book but give me a book with a storyline over clever every time.
Aries Poon
Dec 23, 2012 Aries Poon rated it really liked it
It's pretty on mark to call Hawthorn & Child an anti-novel. And the British author Keith Ridgway nailed it, superbly.

He once put it that it is "a book of fragments". "The mysteries are everywhere, but the biggest of all is our mysterious compulsion to solve them. In Hawthorn & Child, the only certainty is that we've all misunderstood everything," the back of the book says.

I read his interview at Asylum (LINK: before reading his book, so I knew I
Karina Westermann
1) A couple of years ago Tom McCarthy’s novel C was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. McCarthy was rather good at sound-bites. He declared the novel ‘the Finnegans Wake for the 21st Century’ or even a nouveau roman. This was utter nonsense, of course. I enjoyed the novel a great deal but at its core it was a rather conventional Bildungsroman cleverly disguised as an experimental anti-novel.

2) Narratologists are endlessly fascinated by ‘plot’ – one of the most famous books on the topic is eve
Jan 20, 2013 MisterHobgoblin rated it liked it
Does anyone remember The Gentle Touch? It was a British TV police drama that had many threads in the story - some were endings, some were beginnings but only one thread ever ran from start to finish in the episode.Well, Hawthorn and Child is a bit like that - except without the completed thread. There are beginnings, ends and middles with only vague themes to hold them together. Most, for example, have a cameo appearance by Detective Hawthorn or Detective Child, jobbing police detectives, or per ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I'd read this, I must admit that I was unsure why this had been picked as a Waterstones Book Club title, as it certainly isn't one for everyone. However, one morning on my bus journey to work, a man sat down next to me reading it, and we ended up getting into a discussion about it; not something I'm used to doing on my commute (I'm usually too busy trying not to fall asleep into my coffee!) So I'll preface this review by saying that, if nothing else, there's a lot in here to talk about!

Nov 20, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A terrific novel, or un-novel, or whatever you want to call it. I love a book that strings along and plays with and confounds my readerly expectations, then leads me somewhere unexpected, and Hawthorn & Child does just that. Whereas Ridgway's earlier novel The Parts relied on interwoven and sometimes overlapping storylines, this time the stories overlap in only the most peripheral ways — sometimes literally, as the recurring detectives Hawthorn and Child are glimpsed at the edge of someone e ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Elika rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz Ellen Vogan
Jun 20, 2013 Liz Ellen Vogan rated it it was ok
I think I understand little of why this book is. Ridgway described as a shattered novel, and it makes sense. I found scraps that were poignant (I'd like to forward River's daughter's chapter to a friend of mine, her perception of art and art critics and cliche is heartening and real). Other shards were avenues that had no apparent relevance and dead-ended, unless I missed something. Every shard had something good but it was hard to tell where the break was sometimes and also, as I said, why this ...more
this is a book without much of a plot. That are a few characters that appear throughout the book including the 2 title characters, who are cops. There are chapters that I had no idea what they were about. Of course the cover blurbs were much for cover quotes.
Kirsty Darbyshire
Oct 19, 2012 Kirsty Darbyshire rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Something a bit more than a collection of loosely joined short stories - the links are obvious between some of them, and less obvious with others. A little disappointing in that I was waiting for a couple of pieces of jigsaw to appear than didn't turn up (isn't that always the way with jigsaws though?). But then it does make me want to read it over and see what I missed the first time around. Marked down from five stars to four because a couple of the stories didn't seem nearly as good as the re ...more
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“They couldn't talk. They were not good talkers, either of them. And once, long ago now, she had bought a notebook for a course. It lay empty and forgotten on the kitchen table until one afternoon, when she had gone out to the shops and he was worried that she would be killed by a bus or by lightning, he opened the notebook and he wrote lines about how he loved her, the way he loved her, about his fucking heart and crap like that, about his body brimful and his scrambled head. All that. She came back from the shops. He left the notebook where it was, and he didn't mention it. And it wasn't until about a week later that he noticed it again, and he flicked it open, and he saw his lines followed by lines from her. She'd written words that she had never said. He sat down. He read them over and over for a long time. Then he wrote a paragraph for her to find.” 3 likes
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